Cost of Living in Turkey- Mediterranean Beach Life For $1000 a Month In Antalya

02/17/2021

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Hadarins Gate e1613903084808

Despite unfavorable Western press, Turkey is still a hotspot for expats, retirees, and digital nomads. Here, you can live in a cosmopolitan city or on a sun-kissed beach at a lower rates than in neighboring countries. An enjoyable Mediterranean lifestyle is yours for less than $1000 per month.

Antalya, a gorgeous resort city, is an ideal example. The best things to do here are free or stunningly cheap. Beaches are all public, so lounging in the sun or swimming in the sea is free. Sitting in the historic Old Quarter to watch the boats float into the harbor while enjoying a Turkish coffee is 0.50 cents. Need a breakfast bagel? Less than $1. Maybe you are ready for lunch? $2. 

It is sometimes challenging to comprehend the low cost of living in Turkey. This guide helps new expats interested in moving to Antalya envision the high quality of life a $1000 monthly budget affords them. 

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Old Town

Enjoying some sunshine, the Mediterranean Sea, and ancient ruins.

What is the cost of living in Turkey?

Total Monthly Expense$ 976
COST PER MONTH
Rent- Furnished Large 1 Bed, 1 Bath, Walkable to the Sea500
Maid Service 1 day per week/4 hours per day-
Water/Sewer/Garbage-INCLUDED Electric OnlyINCLUDED
High Speed InternetINCLUDED
Cable TVINCLUDED
Cell Phone- 4 GB Internet Per Month5
Total Housing Expense505
Home Cooked Meals 14 times per Week140
Fast Food 5 times per Week87
Casual Bistro Restaurant once per Month17
Fine Dining Restaurant once per Month25
Total Food Expense269
1st run movie once per Month4
Budget Night Out-3 beers at a local bar once per Week35
Big Box Gym (Weights and Group Classes)20
Total Entertainment58
Public Transportation 3 Roundtrips a Week11
Taxi 1X per Week46
Total Transportation Expense57
Travel Health Insurance43
Health Care Expense43
Haircut 10 times per Year4
Personal Care Items- Shampoo, Soaps, Etc.20
Household Items- Laundry Soap, Tools, Dishes, Etc.20
Total Personal Care and Misc Expense44
Exchange Rate to $1 USD to TRY (Turkish Lira)7.53

My budget is specifically for Antalya, but you'll find similar rates in any of the expat cities. Istanbul will be the most expensive. Expenses in the capital are only about 10% higher, but the value of what you get is lower. For example, $250 per month is the average price for a centrally located apartment in Antalya. The same $250 in Istanbul would require you to live in a less attractive neighborhood outside the city center.

Pandemic circumstances only allowed me to stay in the country for five weeks during the summer peak season. I relied more on my network of other expats and digital nomads to get an idea of "normal" costs.

How much money do you need to live in Turkey?

Budget comparison Turkey vs. Croatia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, and Colombia.

How do costs in Turkey compare to the United States?

Depending on your lifestyle, you can spend between $500 to $1,500 per month. If you are a geoarbitrage fan, you will love the consumer prices here. Moving here from the US can save you over 80% from a MCOL city like Portland, Oregon.

Nomadic FIRE Cost of Living Comparison

Expense Estimates: The Earth Awaits

What kind of lifestyle can I afford on $1000 per month?

Let's add some context to the $1000. Here are the average prices for a single person in a US city (Portland) compared to an "expensive" city in Turkey(Antalya).

The Top 4 major costs in the US are housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. These 4 expenses make up 68% of the average costs in larger cities.

Key Living Costs

US- Portland

Turkey- Antalya

HOUSING

$962

$505

FOOD

$313

$269

TRANSPORTATION

$862

$57

HEALTHCARE

$353

$43

Total Average Per Month

$2,490

$874

Save 65% on Monthly Expenses

Living in Turkey could save you almost $25,000+ per year. Now look closer at the standard of living a $1000 budget buys you.

Antalya Housing Costs

$500

What is the cost of housing in Turkey?

Apartment rent is your biggest opportunity to spend less than I did.  Similar to other Mediterranean tourist magnets, like Croatia or Greece, rents on the coast peak during the summer. Rates vary significantly between long-term vs. short-term. If you try to rent month-to-month during the summer, you can expect the average rent to potentially double. I paid $500 in July, but you can find a similar long-term lease for $200 to $350 fairly easily.

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Apartment 1
Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Apartment 2
Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Apartment 3
Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Apartment 4

★ My apartment rent ($500) was double offseason rental rates, but I didn't mind paying the premium. I lived in a large 1-bedroom apartment in Kaleici (Old Quarter), about a 10-minute walk from the beach and 300 yards from Hadrian's Gate. My front windows overlooked a park with an afternoon sunset view of the mountains. All utilities, including electricity, were included.

★ Fully equipped with sofa, smart TV, air conditioner, a fast internet connection, and washing machine.

Cost of a studio apartment

For a centrally located studio or smaller 1-bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay about $250 for a short-term lease (Wi-Fi and utilities included). Even at this lower rate, you are still a short walk to the beach.

Nomadic FIRE Marco Avatar

 INSIDER TIP : Airbnb- Don't look at Airbnb to estimate real estate. Even with discounts, Airbnb's short-term rentals are still 2X the normal rates. Use Google translate on Sahibinden to view local apartment listings first. Check out Facebook groups as a secondary source: Properties For Rent and Sale in Antalya or Foreigners In Antalya

Food Costs

$269

Is it expensive to eat in Turkey?

I only spent $250 per month here, but that number did not include any sit-down restaurants. Due to the pandemic, I didn't eat out but instead had Turkish food delivered daily. But quality food is so cheap here, even with a "normal" ratio of cook vs. eat out; the number would still only increase to $300ish.

Here is an example from average markets in the city center:

  • Boneless chicken breast $2.30 per pound
  • Milk $0.75 for 1-liter bottle
  • Eggs $1.30 for 10 eggs
  • Cheese $6 per pound
  • Fresh baked loaf of bread $0.32

What are the average restaurant prices in Turkey?

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Simit with Cheese and Sausage

Fast Food $1- Simit (Turkish Bagel) with Cheese and Sausage

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Sis Kofte

Casual Restaurant $5- Sis Kofte X 3 (Grilled Meatballs) 

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya Grilled Calamari

Sit Down Restaurant $8.50- Grilled Baby Calamari with Thyme, Garlic, and Chili Peppers

Other Miscellaneous Costs

  • Entertainment $0- $0. Here is another case where the pandemic kept me from enjoying the nightlife. I leaned on my expat network to better understand what a night out on the town looks like here.
    While food is cheap here, there is a high tax on alcohol that makes social life more expensive than you would guess. A .33 liter bottle of Efes, a domestic beer, can be found for $3-$4/20-30 TRY at most bars and pubs.
    There are several mega-clubs here if getting shoulder to elbow close with gyrating sweaty strangers is your thing. Sadly, none of my friends like to dance, or I’m getting too old to go clubbing. Either way, I don’t have good intel for a proper entertainment budget.
  • Fitness Club $10- Smaller local gyms can be found for $10 a month, but even nicer big box gyms (with group fitness classes) are as low as $15.
  • Barbershop $6- Most men's barbershops charge between $6-$8 for a fade and scissor cut.
  • Cell Phone Plan $5-  LTE prepaid data plans are roughly $5 for 4 GB of data.

What does transportation cost in Antalya?

Transportation

$57

Public transportation system consists of a tram system and bus lines. As my apartment was directly on the light-rail line, I took the tram to almost anywhere I needed to go. For about $0.40 cents, you can jump on any tram or bus. The ticket is per ride, regardless of distance. Even the 40-minute tram to the Antalya airport is $0.40 cents.

Kaleici (Old Town) is very walkable, with several streets blocked off for pedestrian use. I only needed to jump on the bus a couple of times a week for my daily life. Otherwise, everything I needed, cafes, groceries, a major shopping mall, and a beach, was within walking distance.

Uber is not available. However, on almost every street corner is a yellow box. Press the button, and a taxi will pick you us in a few minutes. Taxis are inexpensive and will take you almost anywhere in the city for $4-$5.

Nomadic FIRE Marco Avatar

 INSIDER TIP : The cost of transportation inside the country is cheap. Flying from Antalya to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines is a $20 one-hour flight. Direct flights to Germany or the UK are $30 to $40 for a one-way ticket.

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Istanbul to Antalya Flights
Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya to Europe Flights

How much is Turkish health care?

Healthcare

$60

My travel health insurance covers me while I'm in the country, but if I wanted to retire here, a Temporary Residence Permit requires purchasing Turkish Health Care.

There are several International Health Insurance companies doing business here, including Mapfre, AXA, and Allianz. Premiums for expats between 36 and 45 years old will be roughly $43/325 TRY per month. This insurance would cover 100% of an emergency, then 60% co-insurance for additional medical care.

Nomadic FIRE Marco Avatar

 INSIDER TIP : Turkish Healthcare-If your country has a reciprocity agreement with Turkey, your national health insurance fulfills the Turkish health insurance requirement for residency. No additional purchases are necessary.

As of 2020, those countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Netherlands, North Cyprus, and Romania.

Will I have to pay taxes living in Turkey?

If you stay over 183 days in the country, you become a tax resident. If you are a digital nomad working here, any income you earn in-country is subject to income tax.

Income Bracket (TRY)

Tax Rate

1 -

22,000

15%

22,001 -

49,000

20%

49,001 -

180,000

27%

180,001 -

600,000

35%

600,001 -

OVER

40%

Other Income Bracket (TRY)

Tax Rate

1 -

22,000

15%

22,001 -

49,000

20%

49,001 -

120,000

27%

120,001 -

600,000

35%

600,001 -

OVER

40%

Check this list to see which countries have a double taxation agreement.

You also will have to pay a combined Social Security tax of 15%: 9% Short Term Disability, 5% Public Health Insurance, 1% Unemployment.

Taxes For Expats Logo

Get A Free Tax Consultation and $25 off your US Expat Tax return

What is Not Included In The $1,000 Budget? Taxes!

Turkey has a double taxation treaty with the United States. If you are a tax resident in here, you may be able to deduct the income tax paid to the US from the amount you owe . Speak with a tax accountant to confirm. Nomadic FIRE has partnered with Expat Tax Specialists offering a FREE 30-minute consultation. 

Full Disclosure, this is an affiliate link. If you use the link, I earn a commission from the company at no additional cost to you. You get the benefit of $25 off your return and a FREE 30-minute consultation with a Tax Advisor.  

How much does it cost to move to Turkey?

Are you from the EU? Lucky you. European Union citizens can enter visa-exempt for 90 days.

US Citizens get no love and need a visa to enter. They even increased the fee. I paid $50, plus a $1.50 Service Fee for an eVisa. 

Other nationalities can use the Turkish eVisa website. to check eligibility

Nomadic FIRE Turkey eVisa Receipt
Nomadic FIRE Marco Avatar

 INSIDER TIP : The country is in NATO, but not part of the European Union or Schengen. Being outside the Schengen zone makes the country a great way to refresh your 90-day Schengen allowance with flights from the EU for under $40.

Key Takeaway: Is Antalya good value for the money?

Antalya is the cheapest city I've lived in with the best value for the money. Average prices are inline with renowned low-cost cities, Medellin or Da Nang, and the quality of life is fantastic. $1000 buys a comfortable life for most expats. Some cost of living calculators even find my $1000 budget on the high-end.

The Earth Awaits estimates a modest lifestyle at only $514. I'm not sure I could enjoy a budget that low. Yes, you could reduce easily reduce housing by signing a longer lease. Also, my cost of food always trends high, as I enjoy eating out, so there could be additional savings in the dining budget.   

Overall, my expenses are so low here; I don't mind spending $1000 because of the higher value I get for each dollar spent. 

Nomadic FIRE Turkey Antalya The Earth Awaits

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About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, Hacknoon, CW Network, The Times of Israel, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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